Adolescent girls’ race/ethnic status, identities, and drive for thinness

Citation

Boyd, Emily M.; Reynolds, John R.; Tillman, Kathryn Harker; & Martin, Patricia Yancey (2011). Adolescent girls' race/ethnic status, identities, and drive for thinness. Social Science Research. vol. 40 (2) pp. 667-684

Abstract

Using data from 7272 adolescent US girls, we explore how girls’ race/ethnic group status affects their bodyweight, perceptions of overweight, and weight control practices. We hypothesize that a girl’s race/ethnic status influences her basic identity which in turn prompts her to adopt or reject a “drive for thinness.” After controlling for family and peer support, school engagement, family SES, maturation, and family structure, we find that girls’ race/ethnic status influences their susceptibility to the thinness ideals of mainstream culture. African American girls weigh more than Asian, Hispanic, or White girls, but at any given weight they perceive themselves as overweight and attempt to control their weight less. Asian American and White girls invest most in thinness dynamics. Some evidence also suggests girls from lower SES families are less driven to be thin. Our results affirm the utility of viewing material bodies as “situations” that are experienced and interpreted in accord with identity group relations and dynamics.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ssresearch.2010.11.003

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science Research

Author(s)

Boyd, Emily M.
Reynolds, John R.
Tillman, Kathryn Harker
Martin, Patricia Yancey

Year Published

2011

Volume Number

40

Issue Number

2

Pages

667-684

DOI

10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.11.003

Reference ID

1324